The source of the employment and prosperity seen today in developed economies is not a secret - it is the sum of the technological capabilities that have been invented and developed since the start of the industrial revolution and this knowledge is no one’s private property.
Projects under way
Projects under planning
Many African countries do not have the production and infrastructure industries needed to provide economic growth and safe and secure employment. This Foundation exists to support the development of these needed industries - this page describes these and how we are going about dealing with them. It also links to progress pages covering each individual project with descriptions and pictures of what we are doing and where we are. We will try and keep it up to date and as interesting as possible.
Some of these "cottage industries" have not been thought about for a long time in our "industrialized" west. So many have been, for so long, an integral part of large industries and companies they actually spawned - their presence is just taken for granted as part of something done, or outsourced, by large companies. So many have become so much more sophisticated than their precursors that the automatic reaction of many is "it can't be done this way".
Many suffer from a long held perception that they are too complicated or too difficult to easily transfer - however it should be remembered that most are developments that have been around for a very long time, and the complexity perceived is perhaps more to do with the extraordinarily detailed analyses done on many aspects of almost everything, in order to gain that last little improvement to production competitiveness - rather than the basic necessary understanding of how it works and how it can be made.
One then has to stand back and look from a different perspective. Starting with a "clean sheet" in a low labor cost area actually enables us to be quite selective in which "sophistications" we include from the start, and which ones we let - or hope will - develop over time as the same needs for competitive advantage etc. develop naturally.
What we can be sure about is the fact a little bit of inefficiency won't matter when all raw materials are on hand and they have an enthusiastic and ridiculously low labour cost workforce. The west's industry wasn't developed with all that sophistication from day one - the developing world can leapfrog some steps - but not the basic requirement of local production for fundamental needs and export dollars.
Many of these projects can lead to other opportunities and markets - however all can be viable alone. Africa is a continent made up of 45 mainland countries and almost a billion people - about 14% of the earth's population. It has very few industries with any sort of technological base and the little bit of economic growth it has experienced is already bringing to the worlds attention as an enormous "potential market" for western producers.
It is an enormous market, but ultimately its own real economic growth will be stimulated if a substantial part of that market demand is fulfilled by its own producers. There are countless opportunities for Africa's own entrepreneurs - especially in the areas that are considered essential for quality of life such as medicine.
The Foundations objective in all the opportunities we present is, as much as anything else, to de-mystify manufacturing technology. We will provide design and knowledge support to any entrepreneur with any worthwhile project that is within our sphere of knowledge.
Gambia Electric Motor
by Salifu Ablie Jallow
Foundry Addis Ababa
"Angel" Anders Ljungberg
Industries for Africa Foundation Amalia Jönssons Gata 25 42131 Västra Frölunda